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A study has found that couples who attempt to conceive within three months of losing an early pregnancy have the same, if not greater, chances of having a baby than those who wait.

The findings have put into question traditional advice that couples should wait at least three months after a loss before attempting to get pregnant again. The World Health Organization recommends waiting a minimum of six months between a pregnancy loss and a new attempt.

“Couples often seek counseling on how long they should wait until attempting to conceive again,” said Enrique Schisterman, Ph.D., chief of the Epidemiology Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and senior author of the study. “Our data suggest that women who try for a new pregnancy within three months can conceive as quickly, if not quicker, than women who wait for three months or more.”

Previous studies of pregnancy spacing have focused on when women should become pregnant after experiencing a loss, but few have addressed the question of when couples should start trying to conceive.

Primary author Dr Karen Schliep, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US, says the study found there is no physiological reason for delaying attempts at conception after miscarriage, although “couples may need time to heal emotionally before they try again”.

“For those who are ready, our findings suggest that conventional recommendations for waiting at least three months after a loss may be unwarranted,” she says.

The National Institutes of Health study, published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, followed 1083 women who had miscarried before 20 weeks gestation.

The researchers found that more than 76 per cent of the women attempted to conceive within three months after losing a pregnancy. Compared to those who waited longer, this group was more likely to become pregnant (69 per cent compared to 51 per cent) and to have a pregnancy leading to a live birth (53 per cent compared to 36 per cent).

Up to 1 in 4 confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks, but many other women miscarry without having realised they are pregnant.

If you or someone you know needs support after a miscarriage contact SANDS 1300 072 637

Share your comments below.

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  • I imagine “being ready” would be different for each couple and hence it is difficult to put a blanket time on it.

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  • That’s all good and we’ll but mentally the couple may not be ready

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  • Interesting how these ideas change over time.
    19years ago a friend of mine lost her bub at 22 weeks and she was told it was best to wait a year before trying again. She fell pregnant again after 4 months and we were all so scared that she would lose this baby after what the Doctors had said but she didnt and in fact was overdue in delivering him.

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  • Medically it might be a good time to try 3 months after a loss, unfortunately the couples head space might not agree. It’s a huge deal and huge emotional strain to lose a child. To have researchers tell you when and what is best, isn’t always taken from looking at the whole scenario.

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  • My 2nd son was conceived before the 3 month wait after losing my daughter at 23 weeks. It was not planned, just happened we consoled ourselves after my step sister lost her youngest to SIDS. We think that might be it, next thing i know after winning a free chicken meal was really sick the next morning and then every day for a week. The doctor after doing different tests said I was expecting again. It was a nervous time plus my uterus being in the the wrong direction did not help as it felt like it was coming out so a lot of rest for a while until it righted itself. Apart from morning sickness was the best pregnancy I had out of the many I had. also the quickest delivery.

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  • I have experienced 2 miscarriages and I conserved 8 weeks after the first 1 but the second one was indeed a accident our condom had broken and it was only 9 weeks later but with the pregnancy I was always scared that I would loose the baby again

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  • It should be up to the couple to decide when they are ready to try again.

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  • Does stress cause delays in pregnancy success?? Miscarriage masy cause more stress for some women than others,
    I know a Mum who didn’t succeed for awhile. Her work was very stressful so the Dr. suggested she give up work as all tests for both partners showed no problems. Within 3 months she was relaxed and got pregnant.

    Reply

  • I think it’s up to the couple when they feel ready, but any up to date advice would be helpful

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  • Like it

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  • I don’t think any scientific study can be used to say when a couple who has lost a child through miscarraige should try again. My husband and I had 4 miscarraiges prior to the birth of our son (now 6), and for me, you need to listen to your body and your emotions. If it feels right to get right back into trying – then do it, if you need time to mourn, take that time x

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  • We waited six years…. best decision….

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  • Intresting research, I think every women is different and although it is good to have research into issue I believe it will happen when body is ready.

    Reply

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